This is a very important matter that concern many IT managers when it comes to take the leap to the Office cloud. Three of the most frequently questions are: How will be my data backed up? How is recovery performed? and Where is the backed up data stored?
1. How is the backup performed?
If you look at your Office 365 administration portal there is no option for you to schedule a backup nor a recovery.
In Office 365 E plans, you can set the litigation hold per accounts but there is no backup configuration for the other cloud services like SharePoint Online, Power BI, OneDrive, or Skype for Business.
The official Security and Service Continuity Service document from 2011 is still currently applied: backups are performed every 12 hours and retained for 14 days.
2. Where is the backed up data stored?
This is a critical point: backed up data is in Microsoft storage and not available to you, regardless of the subscribed plan.
3. How is the recovery performed?
Only Microsoft can perform the recovery, if something has gone wrong you must send a restore request to Microsoft.
The problem is that if you have lost data due to one of your user, there is not much you can do about it if you find it out after 14 days, as for Microsoft this would not be detected as a proper error.
First of all, proper backup should be done offsite, or at least the backed up data should be available to the customer. Otherwise, what if the Microsoft servers are all unavailable? Even if this is unlikely (Office 365 follows plenty of security policies, you can view all the compliance standards here), you can’t just ignore a disaster scenario could happen.